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Skill Shortages in the UK Economy (Edge Foundation Report) – (MAY 22)

May 17, 2022

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EDGE FOUNDATION Skill Shortages in the UK Economy Report

Skills are the bedrock of a thriving labour market. Skills gaps and shortages are a major driver of youth unemployment and poor labour market productivity. Figures released in February show that vacancies are at their highest level since  records began in 2001, and skills mismatches are a fundamental factor in this.

Key highlights:

  • While youth unemployment has fallen from its pandemic peak, it remains higher than in several comparable global economies because there is a significant mismatch between the skills young people develop while in education and those the future economy will need. Indeed, many young people in UCL’s research reported the pandemic had worsened their learning of job skills, but a lack of skills training has been a more longstanding issue. Lord Shipley reflects on the work of the House of Lords Committee on Youth Unemployment which highlights the narrow scope of the academic school curriculum in allowing space for skills development. Case studies from the South Yorkshire Region Education and Careers and TechCentre Training present the work they are doing to support young people into careers.

  • Vital industries and sectors across the UK (food production, construction, hospitality, health and social care) continue to be threatened by growing skills shortages and high staff turnover. City & Guilds report concerns among potential recruits around low pay, inflexible working conditions and a lack of opportunity to progress, as deterring factors. Moreover, the Resolution Foundation notes that many roles in vital industries, such as transport and storage, manufacturing and domestic services, which have disproportionately relied on EU workers, are mostly ineligible for a skilled worker visa under the new system.

  • Apprenticeships are proving to be a viable solution to help bridge the skills gap and recruitment concerns among businesses as reported in the Open University’s 2021 Business Barometer. However, as the CBI’s Education and Skills Survey suggests, many employers are still struggling to invest in training because of the Apprenticeship Levy. They recommend that Government policy needs to deliver a post-16 education plan that can instil confidence among employers that they are able to meet their long-term skills needs.

  • Research from the Learning and Work Institute shows that not only do increased basic skills improve employment prospects and productivity, but also lead to positive social outcomes in health and wellbeing among adults. However, England faces a significant skills deficit with more than 5 million adults lacking basic skills at Level 1 and 2 in numeracy, literacy and digital skills, while only one in five adults are currently participating in programmes to boost such skills.

For Full Report see below

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What Schools Say About Us

Being part of the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Careers Hub has been pivotal to the development of careers provision in our school. The Hub have shared good practice across their members resulting in a stronger focus on good quality provision. The annual event enabled the hub to share their vision of School Improvement Through The Lens of Careers and looking beyond the Benchmarks. It was a fantastic opportunity to share different models of school improvement and strategies to further develop careers provision to enhance the future opportunities of our young people.

Mrs A Spencer, John Taylor High School

What Businesses Say About Us

It it superb to be able to speak with local schools, colleges, and businesses in Stoke and Staffs and show how important the partnerships are to bring the skills of the future. Educating those who educate the ones shaping the aspirations of young people is essential for the industry to grow and be more sustainable.”

Alison Tucker, St Modwen